If It’s So Great, Why Aren’t More Companies Organized This Way?

It's interesting to note that Ed Deming had great success when he went to Japan and basically said, "Get rid of the quality control guy on the end of the line and make the team assembling the car responsible for its quality."

Then, as mentioned earlier, America's first "Deming car" was the Ford Taurus – which quickly became America's best-selling car.

That was the self-directed team concept at work in the rust belt! So why has it taken so long to catch on in the service industries?

It could be that Detroit had "bottomed out." Japan had brought them to their knees, so they were willing to make radical changes. Plus, Deming and the Japanese had already proved the concept in the auto industry.

The professional service industries may be clinging to the old ways because the movement of the economy, from being manufacturing-based to being service-based, has compensated for and covered up the inefficiencies of their outdated organizational models. The common reasons to resist change sound like: "What do you mean you're going to abolish my department!?", "If it worked before, it will work now." Or, "I don’t want to rock the boat."

The need to change, and the opportunities for those who do, aren’t as obvious as they were for Detroit's auto manufacturers, because strong demand for professional service people may partially cover up their organizational inefficiencies.

It's my belief that the competitive pressures created by those who do move to the more effective organizational model of fast-moving, self-directed teams will force the laggards to change.